24 May 2022, Israel: ICL, a leading global specialty minerals company, today announced it has partnered with startup accelerator StartLife in its quest to invest in startups focused on new ways to address global challenges in food and agricultural production. These challenges range from increasing yields and tackling food insecurity, to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Both organizations are fully geared toward accelerating the business development and growth of early-stage startups, and this partnership enables them to advance in their shared mission.
Headquartered in Israel, ICL Planet Startup Hub serves as the vehicle ICL uses to cultivate, nurture and accelerate innovation in the AgriFood tech ecosystem, through open innovation and collaboration on a global basis. Potential targets also include novel ways to recycle minerals, extract them from waste streams and convert them to fertilizers or to develop innovative functional proteins for clean label applications, among others.
“ICL Planet Startup Hub seeks to establish a new generation of plant nutrition solutions, and our aim is to invest in startups, which can make a meaningful difference,” said Hadar Sutovsky, vice president of External Innovation at ICL Group. Sutovsky first encountered StartLife through its annual summit – F&A Next – which is centered on disruptive AgriFood technologies and brings together startups, investors and corporates from all over the world.
“StartLife has a strong track record of spotting and attracting promising early-stage startups globally, and its position at the heart of the European AgriFood tech ecosystem, its focus on sustainable food systems, and its strong links with the world-renowned Wageningen University & Research were central to our decision to enter into a partnership,” continued Sutovsky.
StartLife’s Operations Director, Laura Thissen, said, “Through this partnership, StartLife aims to accelerate startups’ scaling journey and, at the same time, support ICL in finding the best startups, which match their innovation challenges. Our team is already identifying startups looking to partner and to help solve a piece of the innovation puzzle for Planet Startup. The scope includes crop nutrition, such as next generation fertilizers and biostimulants, but also precision farming and alternative proteins.”
Thissen added, “To boost innovation, StartLife actively connects startups to leading players in the industry. ICL’s core domain is complementary to our partner community value chain coverage. In our talks, we quickly discovered we have a lot of synergies in our activities and the same drive for sustainability in food and agriculture.”
Startups have much to gain from a collaboration with ICL Planet Startup Hub, including market access, expertise and world class scientists, as well as the ability for sample testing. As an on-the-ground industrial partner, ICL can also provide agronomic or food application feedback. ICL Planet Startup Hub is already an active investor in several AgriFood startups, most recently in alternative protein companies Plantible and Protera.